on the back page…

An anecdote I passed on to some people at the herald made it into the Diary section of the paper;

LIBYAN MISSION

Given all the instability and bloodshed, there are many who are desperate to get out of Libya. Then there are those desperate to get in. They include Austin G. Mackell, an Australian freelance journalist. ”I’m not in Libya yet,” Mackell told the Diary yesterday, via email from Egypt. ”Had a few setbacks, including being held by the military for nine hours [on Sunday] … The whole reason I was there so long was the Australian embassy – presumably busy with Kevin 747’s visit to Cairo – couldn’t dispatch anyone to sign me out.” The Department of Foreign Affairs says it was advised on Sunday afternoon by the Egyptian military that someone claiming to be an Aussie was being held in custody, but the name provided was not Austin Mackell and did not match any department records. And, said the military, he could be visited only on Monday morning. In the event, Mackell was released on Sunday night. He writes, ”Fortunately, my interrogator, Officer Hassan … bent the rules to let me go home. My Egyptian friend who came to get me commented that he thought having the Australian Foreign Minister in the country would help my cause. If only.”

I can say I think the embassy’s account of things reeks of bullshit. The Military Police had all my correct details including my passport number, and they weren’t idiots, and were done with me and wanted me gone.

They said that the embassy had specifically said they were too busy and that they would deal with it “tomorrow”.

About Austin G. Mackell

I am a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of corporate and community outlets from my hometown of Sydney and from the Middle East, including from Lebanon during Israels 2006 invasion and from Iran during the tumultuous presidential elections there in 2009. I have recently moved to Cairo to watch the revolutions in Arab world unfold.
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